Keyless Entry Basics

The primary goal of any keyless system is to eliminate access by keys, so the keys that do bypass these systems must be carefully guarded and never distributed casually.


Today’s business customers have developed a strong interest in keyless entry. Whether motivated by need or desire, these customers turn to security providers, installers, contractors and locksmiths to facilitate keyless entry requests. Keyless entry devices and systems are evolving...


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AN ELECTRICIAN ON YOUR SIDE
If electricity needs to be brought to transformers, power supplies, and controller boxes, make it so with a licensed electrician.

Develop a working relationship with a certified electrician. The electrician can inspect the electrical service and certify its ability and quality to handle extra loads. The electrician can properly bring electricity to your components and can tie-in the higher voltage to the lower voltage transformer or power supply.

Working with an electrician becomes a natural partnership as the electrician is much more interested in working with alternating current greater than 110 volts, and has much less interest in “electronic” devices that work with lower voltage direct current.

As electricians help locksmiths accomplish these types of requests, locksmiths are in the position to pass requests to electricians they get from their customers, relating to lighting and door annunciators.
A back board is an inexpensive component that streamlines the process of mounting electric boxes and components together in a centralized location. A simple installation (i.e. electric strike, transformer, and pushbutton) will not necessarily call for a back board.

Once the centralized location is chosen (usually a service closet or communication room), a board large enough to have all the components screwed onto it is securely mounted to a wall. Spacing the board away from the wall allows for wires to be hidden (and protected) behind the board.

The back board should be the first component to be mounted as it gives the electrician the exact location where power needs to be provided.

Once the back board is secured to the wall, controller and power supply boxes can be screwed onto it anywhere on its surface. Instruction manuals, logs, and phone numbers can be left on site on a clip board attached to the back board.

An organized back board speaks volumes about the quality of the work performed. It makes it easy for others to follow after the original install, and it makes trouble-shooting simpler.

“CAN” THE TRANSFORMERS & POWER SUPPLIES
Transformers are a type of power supply where standard electricity (110VAC) is converted to a desired lower voltage. The voltage of the transformer is matched to components that require power.
Some transformers are permanently attached to a power outlet. The cover plate is removed and the power supply is then screwed onto the power outlet. Voltage from a transformer is neither regulated nor filtered.

A better way is to place the transformer in a metal box (sometimes called a “can”) large enough for it to dissipate heat. There are cans built for this purpose; they include vents on both sides to dissipate heat.
Power supplies are composed of a power supply circuit board, capacitors, heat sinks, connector strips and a transformer. Power supplies are much more sophisticated as they can regulate, rectify and filter the current. Power supplies are properly fused to protect the more sensitive components that receive power from the supplies.

Electricity supplied to homes and business is unregulated, that is the voltage varies and spikes of electricity can run through power lines. Simple electrical devices in homes and businesses can accept ranges of voltage variance anywhere between 100VAC and 140VAC.

Keyless devices and systems may not be able to handle these variances. Regulated power supplies provide a constant flow of stated voltage. They can filter the voltage to prevent spikes from “frying” components that they feed. Power supplies can also rectify the current; changing the current from alternating current to direct current.

Some power supplies are designed to take into account “loads” or “in rushes.” When some components are first started or several components are turned on at the same time, there is a greater demand for current. Power supplies store energy inside capacitors so that temporarily more energy can be expended to meet the “load” or “in rush.”

Power supplies will vary in quality and the features they provide. Locksmiths should carefully study all specifications when selecting a power supply.

Different components of a keyless system might have different voltages which would require multiple power supplies. For instance, magnetic locks might be rated for 24 volts and the controller might be rated for 12 volts. In this case, two separate power supplies are the prudent way to go.

Some power supplies without a metal box, leaving it up to the locksmith to supply a “can.”
All power supplies and power supply components should always be installed into metal boxes or cans that are large enough for the components to breathe.

What if the power is shut off to the keyless device or system? The doors will unlock or the normal keyless means to enter the doors will not work.

The weakness of batteries in keyless systems is that they don’t work when needed. All batteries fail to hold a charge after a period of time. If not properly monitored or maintained, batteries can be rendered ineffective without notice.

Effectiveness also relies on the selection of batteries. Batteries are rated by amp hours and must be selected based upon the amount of protection time needed. If a system requires 1 amp of constant power, then a battery rated for 1 amp hour will last 60 minutes. It would take two batteries (wired together in series) to provide two hours of power.

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